Good Weed VS Bad Weed

Liz Filmer
10 Aug 2022

Unless you're an experienced user, bad dealers will jump at the chance to offload their lowest quality stock. Suppose you're in this situation or want to boost your knowledge of buying legal cannabis. In that case, you must learn to differentiate between high-grade 'dank,' mid-grade marijuana, and low-standard bog weed. Here are five tips to tell the good weed from the bad weed.

Use The 'Shelf' System

This tip is for those lucky enough to be able to purchase their weed from a dispensary. In a dispensary, you will typically see three distinct shelves. Weed on the top shelf is generally the top stuff. It contains a significant amount of THC and is grown with great care, cured and dried to perfection. 

Top shelf weed should produce an exceptional high whilst also producing an outstanding taste and aroma. The "middle-of-the-road weed" is typically on the center shelf. It's not the best, but it will do the job if you don't already have a high tolerance. It's also more price-friendly. 

Weed on the bottom shelf is usually the least potent bud. Often it is a mixture of leftover clippings from other strains (trim) or broken-off pieces scooped out from the bottom of other jars (shake).

The standard may be slightly higher than if you get it on the streets, but the "bottom shelf" pot is not very potent. Unless you are a beginner or have very low tolerance, you will probably feel like you have wasted your cash.

Stem and Seed 

The weed you buy on the street will be full of stems and seeds you can't even smoke!

Stems will do very little in aiding your mission to get high. Seeds are even worse and have a nasty tendency to explode when exposed to a flame. Seeds in your bowl could ruin the rest of the weed, along with your expensive glass piece. 

Smell & Taste

When weed is harvested, dried, and cured to perfection, it has an unmistakable smell and taste.

Look for weed that has a clear and distinct "marijuana musk". This indicates that the buds are fresh and have an excellent terpene content. Bad weed generally has little or no "cannabis scent" or may even smell like something that does not resemble weed.

Also, your bud smells like freshly cut grass or hay, meaning the weed was poorly grown and improperly dried and cured

The rule of thumb is that an aromatic tinge of chocolate bitterness usually suggests the strain is indica. In contrast, citrus notes often indicate a sativa-dominant variety.

Quality buds may have blue or purple hints. This indicates a strong presence of anthocyanin. If the bud is yellow, red, brown, or tan, it is probably low grade – don't buy it.

Trichome Count

An adequately grown strain of high-quality marijuana will produce buds packed with trichomes. Trichomes store the terpenes and cannabinoids that deliver the smell, taste, and high you are after.

Trichomes look like sparkling crystals; you can spot the density with the naked eye; however, you'll need a jeweller's loupe or something similar to check out the total quantity and get a good look.

Ideally, growers harvest cannabis when the trichomes are a milky white colour. If you can see that more than 50% of the trichomes are crystal clear, the plant was likely harvested before it was entirely "ripe" and should be avoided.

The plant may have been harvested too late if the trichome colour has an amber tinge in more than 50% of its trichomes. This means that the THC may have degraded, turning into CBN. CBN does have some potential medical benefits; however, it does produce an inferior reduced high that makes you feel sick or tired.

Structure & Trim

High-quality indica buds are usually fat, dense, and tightly packed. Sativa buds are airier, wispier, and a little slimmer.

After harvest, growers should trim all buds to remove the fan leaves surrounding the nugs. Hand trimming is best as there is more attention to detail. However, an increasing number of companies are using trimming machines so they can cut the weed at lightning speed. 

Trimming machines lack the care of hand trimmers and can destroy the trichome content of the weed, meaning you end up with less potent nugs. If the weed looks poorly and inconsistently trimmed, or if it contains a lot of fan leaves – don't buy it.

Liz Filmer